A great many things have occurred in the month or so since the last post. And none of it was TEOTWAWKI. We had Earthquake, hurricane, floods, and the now “new normal” (according to an WPWSJNYT article) of the stock market swinging up and back by hundreds of points, teetering ever towards the tip of free fall and then the magical power of “confidence” reemerging or those mysterious “bargain hunters” who we are told drive prices back. Yet, nothing seems to have really occurred that moves us in this or that direction. The Euro emergency keeps throbbing on. The political tumulance of the elections has no release. The recession does not end. Nor do we see guys selling apples for five cents. The guys begging outside my place of employ are the same two dudes who take shifts. They’re not dressed that bad. They seem fed. They’ve been there for four years, I am told. I am financially neither better nor worse than four years ago. Car, still old. Rent, still high. Wage, still stagnant. Credit cards and student loans, still not paid off. The bloggers are starting to crack, the commentators on those blogs starting to ask, where is all the Doom?
As the mythic children in the back seat wondering aloud if “we are there yet?” so many more impatient Doomsters want their Doom now. Well, kiddies, it’s coming. But if you look up “sea change” it used to mean a slow almost unperceivable process leading up to realizing at one moment that the waters are up to your neck and what with your low salt diet and all….
The summer was a strange period where the waters came up, just a little more. We continue to move a little, but it is the wiggling up and down of the instruments. Slight scratches on the chart paper. We want our entertainment rather than a progressive change. We want the progress our former Western Civ classes taught us to believe would take us Boldly Where No Man (Trek, Star; 1968 “Intro to TeeVee Show.” Accessed from the Interwebs September 26 Stardate 2011) has ventured before even if that is off a cliff. Yet, those back seat kids, we are getting there. The gentle wiggling has moved our ship of state further than many believe. It may seem that the destruction of the hurricane will be quickly repaired and forgotten, that the cracks in our national monuments from the quake will be glued together, that these endless Tea Party debates will produce a ticket that can jump out of Craxy McRanty-Rant-Rant territory and appeal to the great unwashed People of Walmart but the stress on the system is taking its toll. It may appear that this has not been a Long Hot Summer. No one rioted. The bomb threat to celebrate the ten year anniversary of 9/11 came and went with no bomb.
However, you don’t need to be a weatherman to know the direction of the wind…. And, with the upper atmosphere satellite falling, maybe you need only your dampened finger to gauge wind direction. Not every shift in the political or social tectonic plates can be measured with the eye. The social shift from white shirts and mod ties to hippies tossing about folding chairs and women burning bras occurred in a few short summers, so much so that for those who left the country at one point, say, to go kill Charlie for a few years, returned to a very different society. This summer was not such a drastic occasion as the late 1960s. Not as active as this writer thought. Many of my forecasts whether printed or expressed with utterances and epitaphs did not come to pass. For a time, it even seemed that the world had run out of things to do, so wants to hang by the edge of night in a constant Euro emergency and USA government shut-down, just to keep us tuned in to CBSNBCNNPR and buying tins and Tupperware from Emergency Essentials.
Marx said that capitalism would be done in by inconsistencies and contradictions, and not so much Thepeoplesrevolution™ (Marx, Karl: 1850something. “some article or chapter I read in college” Book About Marx I Must Have Somewhere Printed on paper 1980something by some people with PhDs). Today, some of those contradictions may be seen in the market itself. The erratic movement between “jitters” and “confidence” (how do we allow such shallow language about the economy to rule us? Oh wait, no one has ever taken an economics class in this country), the continued almost weekly “Governmentshutdown” that is due in six, three, two, one week from now…
How about now?
The consistent picking away at the system of supports and institutions that have been put in place not just to help us all out, but where designed to iron out some of those nasty little contradictions that are supposedly inherent in capitalism. From the 1930s we attempted to create a form of capitalism with an American face, to borrow a phrase often used by our Chinese overlords, and have been/are now bent on wrecking that system that incorporated and institutionalized elements of socialism, communism, and fascism into a more-or-less working ball of fun and the political classes and their Corporate/Citizen Dumbass supporters wish to replace it with a very vague set of notions about freedom and blah blah blah and lower taxes blah blah blah. Those Fathers of this nation, so I was told by some books, wished to establish a different society. They borrowed from many cultures and traditions and used foundational aspects that had more-or-less elevated Western Civ above Mandarin oligarchy or Byzantine procedures. Our clod-hopping bog-men ancestors in Old Europe vis Amerika managed to leave two far more technologically advanced societies in the dust. Those bog-men stumbled on some ideas, never fully implemented as intended but seemed to be a noble experiment to keep alive the institutions of Civis, Polity, and other such interesting ideals of certain Cypriot pederasts some of us were fortunate enough to study as part of a Classical Education (CE). And in damaging our narrative, we leave the door open to The Cray Cray. Maybe knowledge isn’t a good thing.
Maybe those august heads at Routledge and the Cult Stud crowd were right in that there is more to be gained in analyzing the Smurfs for outsider identities to heterosexual normative behavior than swallowing the mental jiz of so many Greeks and that our institutions as standing constantly failed to live up to their ideals – because there was that Slavery thing and that Triangle Shirt Factory Fire stuff, and that Native American Genocide incident… however, time and again it seems that people of past generations attempted to redress old wrongs and build upon those ancient Greek ideas. The whole “more perfect union” thing. The “great society” stuff.
Today, the Progressive/Left gazes into its collective crotch and plays with whatever nature gave or the surgeon created. The Right/Centrists are the modern-day Vandals who rape and pillage and even self-immolate their own interests to a new dark lord for a Neo dark age (no relation to the Dark Ages… I mean where one can’t pay their electrics bill). The “press” searched for something to stick “gate” onto or looks for “Hitler.” What I call, Hitlergate is that our Hitler is no man or woman of natural flesh, but a Mordorian creature called the Corporation and this creature is far more dangerous than any single madman, because this Hitler is a sum total of thousands of Eichmanns as well as such and such many Semites and sundry people of all levels of melanin. The contradictions in the system continue to pile up. Perhaps it is a simple piece of wisdom imparted to us by Sr. Marx we have credited him far too much and too long for as we are amazed when the guy at Tech Serve solves our computer issue over the phone by asking us if the device is plugged in and that we turn it off and on to solve the issues. All dying systems have gross contradictions and wild arrhythmia. And Rome was neither built nor fully burned in a day. Our collapse does not play out to our pleasure like a dramatic film. It is more like a Telenovella. We can watch it every day or just tune in once in a while. Little will occur, but one day, the main characters are killed off and the whole shit show is canceled.
Many dumbasses out there in dumbassland don’t understand that the Great Depression was not some long illness treatable with Paxil (wow… spell check totally did not underline that brand name…) after which we were cured by a swell time at The War. The Marketcrash was not a flat line. The markets fo the 1930s (both real and the fictions of Wall St) were uncertain (value came and went), false (a rush to invest in some bubble that drove up perceived value did not translate into actual value), and insane (people were hungry yet companies dumped milk into the river to keep prices up). This narrative is a good bedtime story but doesn’t inform our situation which is closer to that of the Soviet Union (D. Orlov, his blog and book) if for nothing else than our system being propped up by people who are ideologs (both right and left) and a vast majority who maintain the system only by circumnavigating that very system. Many factory bosses in the old USSR made up work, invented inventories, and altogether fabricated their way through life in order to give the appearance that Rushing and Storming (terms for Soviet productivity… not unlike our own Innovation y Education! Mantra) and Five Year Plans actually worked. And… that system lasted 70 years. Perhaps ours will take as long to unwind as we Letthemarketsdictate our personal and collective future/s/a.
It has been a strange summer. Not one for the history books, but strange. Now that it is at a close, we take accounts of the goings-ons and reflect on our time spent on the beach, in various cars, or summer romances now to an end. There are new forecasts, and I am certain I will be 99% wrong. This is not the same country I lived in just a few months ago, but it looks the same for the most part. The institutions of my youth and our nation are under the knife. FEMA, USPS, Social Security, etc. Perhaps like the government shutdown there will come of naught from this sound and fury. I passed some kids trying to occupy Wall Street. Youth unemployment is at 18% and counting. I read somewhere (you can google it) that the class of 2011 (college) moved back home to the tune of 81%. Youth are stressed. I walked out of work and passed post office employees desperately trying to get signatures from indifferent passersby. They said in the next few years 4000 locations could be closed and 240,000 workers lost. They looked stressed. Some foolios asked me if I had a moment to save the children, for gay rights, for the environment, for my credit card to be charged every month by a marketing company under contract to a non-profit where the CEO gets three times what I make and perhaps nine times what the non-profit’s line staff make. The kids tossing themselves in my way for my credit card know that if they don’t raise a certain amount each week they’ll be dropped from the job. They looked stressed. On the way home I pass bars with ten dollar drinks packed on a weekday evening. Rent is again creeping up in even crap areas of New York City as Hipsters with mystery funds move in and practice arts-n-stuff. I wait in line at the store while a Hispanic woman with three kids swipes her benefits card for a cart full of junk food for some of the fattest children I have ever seen. I know people who live without healthcare because they do work, who feel punished for being educated. I know teachers who feel punished for trying to teach. I see kids so obsessed with iEverything that it is no wonder our Nationschoolsarefailinig™. The greatest philosophers and mentalists have pondered and wondered at the contradictions in the breast of Man, and society is the sum total of all of us. And it’s getting craxy out there.
NASA won’t take us to the moon because it’s closed. Soon mail boxes will be collector items. Stick your grandmother in the freezer because maybe in twenty years you can afford to thaw her out and take her to the ER. Dust off your Doomster Bingo card. The lotto is pooping out numbers and who knows, today may just be your lucky day to see the Shitshow line right up. Tell your moms to stop buying scratchoffs and prepare for a huge party.